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Blair Tells Panel He Disregarded Legal Advice On Iraq


Former Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London on January 21.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed that he pledged support for a military operation against Iraq's Saddam Hussein despite legal concerns.

Blair made the acknowledgement during a second appearance before a British inquiry into his role in the lead-up to the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Iraqi dictator in 2003.

In a written statement to the inquiry, Blair said he disregarded advice from his top legal officer that attacking Iraq would be illegal without a second UN resolution because it was "provisional."

In his first appearance before the Iraq inquiry a year ago, Blair told the panel that Hussein had been a threat to the world and that he had no regrets about the military operation to remove him.

He also denied allegations that he deliberately misled the public over the reasons for the war -- Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.

Blair, whose premiership ended in 2007, sent 45,000 British troops to join the invasion.

compiled from agency reports